Motivating Collective Custom Build is a research project based at the University of Sheffield. It sits within the AHRC-funded Home Improvements Knowledge Exchange, about which you can read below. The proposal has been developed by architectural practice Ash Sakula, working with the University of Sheffield’School of Architecture and Design for Homes alongside other industry partners.
The government launched the HCA Custom Build Homes Fund in July 2012 to address the suppressed demand for 100,000 custom build homes each year (HCA 2012). Why has there been so little interest in this £30m financial incentive? Could ordinary people be encouraged to take a more proactive role in the industry?
This research identifies the legal, financial, statutory, institutional, and other barriers that currently prevent the adoption of collective custom build as a viable housing procurement strategy. It explores the positive drivers for change: on the one hand, benefits for developers in bringing forward land, and on the other, untapped expertise, time and social capital among co-investors.
Using a powerful new dissemination tool, a short narrative film with a ‘peel back’ layer of research findings underneath, the research focuses on motivational drivers in the key industry players in order to re-frame the opportunities for small to medium scale custom build projects, and allow a far greater uptake and wider access.
Our diary page provides chronological updates on the research.
For enquiries about the project, please contact: sam.brown@sheffield.ac.uk or cany@ashsak.com
About the Home Improvements Knowledge Exchange
Principally based at the University of Sheffield, in partnership with Edinburgh University and Kingston University, the AHRC-funded Home Improvements Knowledge Exchange is also supported by the RIBA and the housing industry, represented by Taylor WimpeyDesign for Homes and Radian
The project seeks to improve the quality and value of new housing by improving communication and knowledge exchange between volume housing builders and architectural practices and has two main parts:
1.     An evaluation of practice-based housing research in UK architectural practice.
2.     A testbed for novel methods of knowledge exchange which facilitates cutting edge research in the field of architectural practice.
Motivating Collective Custom Build is one of three embedded projects within the Home Improvements Knowledge Exchange, alongside Parking Wars, with Edinburgh University and URBED, and Making Place, with Kingston University and Satellite Architects. You can find our about these projects by following the links on the right of the page. 
The Home Improvements Knowledge Exchange was initiated in October 2012, through a call for expressions of interest issued via the RIBA website and printed in the Architect’s Journal. The call sought practices interested in the possibility of working with academic and industry partners, towards a research project in the fields of public realm, self build and parking. Thirty six expressions of interest were received. From these a group of nine practices were invited to evolve research project proposals by participating in an Ideas Lab event with our industry and academic partners at the University of Sheffield School of Architecture in December 2012, which was an extremely productive event. Three practices were successful in their bid for funding. The projects commence in February 2013 and last six months. 
For more information about the Home Imrovments Knowledge Exchange, please contact Laura Coucill at the University  of Sheffield.

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